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Utah passes resolution to encourage state policies and programs based on ACEs science

 

In the solidly red state of Utah, lawmakers approved and sent to Gov. Gary Herbert a resolution (H.C.R. 10) on March 7 to encourage state policy and programs to incorporate ACEs science to address “severe emotional trauma and other adverse childhood experiences” in children and adults and implement evidence-based interventions to increase resiliency. Every recorded vote cast by Democrats and Republicans favored the resolution.

A detailed context for the recommendations was included in the several pages-long “Whereas” section, comprised of 15 items outlining the impact of ACEs on health, school performance, employment success, and life expectancy. Some of the language is similar to resolutions passed in California and Wisconsin. Unlike the California and Wisconsin resolutions, the Utah resolution is “concurrent” meaning that both bodies of the legislature—House and Senate—as well as the governor concur, indicating the support of the whole state government.

The resolution encourages “all officers, agencies, and employees” of the state, across state government (listing departments of education, human services, workforce services, courts, and corrections) to:
become informed regarding well-documented detrimental short-term and long-term impacts to children and adults from serious traumatic childhood experiences as outlined above; and
—implement evidence-based interventions and practices that are proven to be successful in developing resiliency in children and adults currently suffering from trauma-related disorders to help them recover from their trauma and function at their full capacity and potential in school, the workplace, and community, family, and interpersonal relationships.

Rep. Edward H. Redd
Rep. Redd

The resolution states that copies of it should be sent to the various state agencies and to all nonprofit entities that contract with the state to provide services to vulnerable children and adults. No funding for programs was included in the bill.  

The Utah Coalition for Protecting Childhood (UCPC)—a “statewide effort that aims to engage individual, families, and communities in building secure and healthy childhoods”—drafted the legislation and in January, hosted a screening of the film Resilience: The Biology of Stress & the Science of Hope at the Capitol. The bill’s prime sponsor, Rep. Edward H. Redd, a physician, participated in a town hall meeting on abuse that also included screening of the film “Resilience,” hosted by Utah Chapter for the Stop Abuse Campaign. Stop Abuse and other organizations supported the resolution. The Senate sponsor is Todd Weiler, an attorney. 

 

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  • Rep. Edward H. Redd

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